A Coaching Power Tool created by Tom Seaman
(Health and Wellness Coach, UNITED STATES)
While there are many philosophies about the purpose of life, whether they are based on religion or other belief systems, it is safe to assume that one of the main purposes of life is for humans to be happy. What makes us happy? This of course varies from person to person, but the one constant is that people are usually their happiest when they are doing the things that they want to do; the things they are passionate about; the things that enrich their lives. We all have the power to choose and create whatever our heart desires. We hold the power to decide what we want, and can simply, even effortlessly, move toward it.
Want Power is the pursuit of things that make us happy, independent of what others think or want for us. Dr. Seuss had something simple, yet very powerful to say about this:
Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.
Think of a time in your life when you chose to do something because you wanted to do it regardless of what anyone else thought about it. How did it make you feel?
Read the following quote by Henry David Thoreau and consider its implications on your life and the lives of your coaching clients:
If you advance confidently in the direction of your own dreams and endeavor to live the life you have imagined, you will meet with a success, unexpected, in common hours.
Are your clients advancing confidently in the direction of THEIR dreams or are they making choices because it is what they think they are “supposed to do” or because of outside influence? If they can shift into the mode of confidently moving towards their dreams (passions), then success will be met as a result of them being true to themselves. They will be utilizing the power of want. We attract what we want when our thoughts, our beliefs and our goals are in alignment. When we want to do something, we set an intention which aligns us with our goal, organically creating structure by virtue of one’s commitment to self love/care.
Want Power Case Study
Jen is single, 35 year old woman who loves living near the beach in southeastern NC. However, several months ago while visiting Napa, CA, she told her friends how much she loved it and would like to live there. While it was just a comment made in passing based on how beautiful she found the area, one of her friends said, “You can live here. Why don’t you do it?” Jen thought about it and realized that she could live there. Work was available to her and she had no permanent ties to NC. As much as she loves NC, she decided that before settling down as a wife and mother she would take a year to live in Napa to experience all it has to offer.
Jen shared that had she been relocated to Napa by her business, she would have probably not been as excited to move. It would have taken will power to do all the things required to move across the country and it would not have been an enjoyable experience. Since it was her decision based on something she wanted, the move was very easy and has very much enriched her life. While it was difficult to move away from family and friends, she really wanted this experience for herself so she made it happen. Jen used her want power to put an action into place and she says she has never been happier and more self empowered. She now resides in Napa while still maintaining her home in NC for when she returns to visit and/or move back for good. Jen said that she has never felt more free to live her life the way she wants.
Want power is following what we intuitively know is right for us, making it easier to trust our decisions in life. Proper application of want power can significantly enhance our life experiences and those around us, as it has for Jen.
Will power is the effort it takes to get through laborious or painful tasks. Will power requires sacrifice to satisfy a short term desire. When we use will power, we typically find a way to get something done, but often with pain and great effort, and little lasting reward. Work, school, marriage, kids, health and financial issues, etc., can be overwhelming for many people. In order to get through the day, many have to operate on sheer will power. It serves them to get through their day, but rarely are they able to experience true happiness because they are trapped in a vicious cycle of doing instead of being. As Wayne Dyer so clearly puts it,
People are constantly striving and never arriving.
In other words, many of us are on the proverbial merry go round and rarely ever take time to smell the roses, or better yet, create a rose garden in our lives for us to enjoy. Living like this can be burdensome, depressing and painful. When we only operate on will power, it leaves little room for us to do the things we enjoy.
Will Power Case Study
Melanie is a divorced mother of two young girls who suffers with Fibromyalgia. While living in chronic pain, she holds down a full time job and cares for her children, one of whom is learning disabled. On the outside Melanie exudes self confidence and the appearance of happiness. However, she is crying inside with fear and physical and emotional pain. She wants so many things for herself and her kids, but in order to make it through the day with her many demands and physical challenges, she has difficulty doing more than what is required. She has to rely on pure will power. The more she does this, the more physical and mental pain she experiences. She is a self admitted people pleaser which she has found does more harm than good because it extends her beyond what she is already trying to manage. Melanie doesn’t want to do most of the things she is doing, but feels inclined to do so for the sake of everyone else’s happiness. Her own happiness is suffering as a result. She recently discovered that her unhappiness was affecting others around her in a negative way.
After a few coaching sessions about self care, Melanie realized that it would not take great effort to set aside a minimum of 15-30 minutes a day doing what she wanted. She also realized that these 15-30 minutes would enrich her life in such a way that it would make the remaining 23 or so hours in the day more tolerable. Thus, she decided that she was going to start riding her bicycle in the evenings. It was something that she had been doing for a while, but stopped because of an injury. Planning to get back into it after she recovered, her physical pain due to the Fibromyalgia and subsequent weight gain due to her sedentary lifestyle, she was struggling to bring herself to do it, even though she knew it would make her feel better. The few times she willed herself to ride her bike it was not enjoyable because it was something she felt she had to do versus something she wanted to do. It was “just one more thing” she had to do in her already hectic day.
After a few more coaching sessions, Melanie began recalling more clearly all the benefits of exercise she previously enjoyed. She then made a decision that bike riding was something she definitely wanted to again make part of her daily routine. When she shifted her perspective from something she felt she needed to do versus something she wanted to do, she no longer had to will herself to ride her bicycle. She did so because she wanted to. Shifting from will power to want power helped her maintain her daily bike riding routine which resulted in less physical pain, weight loss, a genuinely happier disposition and a renewed sense of control over her life. All of this lent itself to dealing with her daily challenges more effectively and with more joy.
Will power resulted in Melanie punishing herself. Want power resulted in Melanie rewarding herself. What was once a struggle now became something Melanie looked forward to every day.